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  1. #1
    Plinker zebov's Avatar

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    Cool My Encounter with Border Patrol: aka "Does I'd like to talk to a Lawyer really work?"

    There are as many different opinions on the way to interact with law enforcement as there are gun owners. I have previously on these forums expressed my opinion as informing the officer immediately that I'd like to speak with an attorney before answering any questions and reminding him of this any time another question is asked along with stating I'd like to be on my way as soon as possible. People's reactions to this have mostly been telling me I was crazy and that by doing that I would either end up out of my vehicle sprawled against the hood of my car, or cuffed, or thrown to the ground with a boot on my head, or have the entire contents of my car rummaged through, or etc. etc.

    Well, I was driving through Southern California and Arizona recently and had the "privilege" of meeting up with a border patrol checkpoint. This was my first interaction with law enforcement since becoming aware of the dangers of self-incrimination. I'll relay a paraphrasing of the interaction below trying to hold true to the nature and content of all statements by myself and the officers with which I interacted and provide some commentary at the end.

    I approached the border patrol checkpoint in a vehicle at 10:55 pm on a Saturday night. I drove slowly and waited behind a semi truck to get to the primary stopping location. As I approached, I had my window rolled down and my driver's license in hand in case it was needed. There was a single officer manning the initial primary checkpoint. I pulled forward and stopped when it was my turn and the exchange went as follows.

    Officer #1: (looking at my license plates, casually states) Minnesota plates, huh? You from Minnesota?
    Me: (I'm sure I sounded extremely nervous saying this) Hi! Good evening. My attorney has informed me that I shouldn't answer any questions from any law enforcement officer without his presence.
    Officer #1: ANY?!
    Me: Yes, sir.
    Officer #1: Bah! Well, you're holding up my line so pull over to secondary.
    Me: By the stop-sign over there?
    Officer #1: Yes.
    Me: Okay.

    At this point I slowly approached the secondary location which was about 20 feet away. There were 3 or 4 officers that met me there and I rolled down the passenger-side window because that is the side of the car on which they were walking.

    Me: Is this good?
    Officer #2: Yes. Good evening.
    Me: Good evening.
    Officer #2: Are you a U.S. citizen?
    Me: Sir, I've been informed by my attorney that I shouldn't answer any questions from law enforcement officers without his presence so I'd like to exercise that advice now.
    Officer #2: Well, you're actually legally required to answer that question.
    Me: Well, okay, if I am legally required to answer that question, then yes, I am a U.S. citizen.
    Officer #2: (looking at my wife in the passenger seat) How about you ma'am, are you a U.S. citizen?
    My wife: Yes.
    Officer #2: Everyone in the car is? (My children were sleeping in the back seat)
    My wife: Yes.
    Officer #2: (Looking around at my car) Is this your vehicle?
    Me: Am I legally required to answer that question, too?
    Officer #2: It's just a question.
    Me: Well I'd like to have my attorney present before answering anything I'm not legally required to.
    Officer #2: Would you like to speak with my supervisor?
    Me: No, actually I'd like to be on my way as soon as possible.
    Officer #2: Okay, well hold on just a second and we'll get you on your way.

    At this point Officer #2 left the passenger-side window. He returned about 10 seconds later and said

    Officer #2: Okay, you're free to go. Have a good night.
    Me: You too.

    At that point, I turned on my blinker, pulled out of the checkpoint and went on my way. The entire encounter took about 2 minutes tops from the time I started talking to Officer #1 to the time I pulled away from the checkpoint. The only information the border patrol got was that I was a U.S. citizen (and this only because they told me I had a legal obligation to provide them with this information without my lawyer present). They didn't ask for nor were they provided my name or other information (though I would have provided my name and ID had they requested it and told me I was legally required to provide it). I didn't have to go through any long explanation, telling them how it is that I'm an Indiana resident, am driving a Minnesota car, and am travelling from Phoenix, Arizona to San Diego, California. I didn't have to (and wouldn't have unless they told me I was legally required to) answer any questions about whether or not there were firearms in my vehicle. And, most importantly it seems from the fears of this forum, I wasn't taken out of my vehicle, thrown to the ground, and forced to eat asphalt.

    All-in-all it was a great encounter. I still think being forced to provide your citizenship status is unconstitutional, but I don't have the 100's of thousands of dollars to afford being the test-case for that at this point in time. Some final notes on how I handled this encounter and how I plan to handle all encounters in the future:

    1) Be cordial and polite.
    2) Setup a third-party bogeyman. It's not the LEO or me who is the bad guy, it's the attorney (sorry!). I'm not upset at the LEO for asking the questions, and he's not upset at me for not answering. It's those pesky attorneys providing legal advice that are "hindering" the investigation. LEO is just doing what he is told to do and I am just doing what I am told to do. Note that this is truthful as well. Just ask any attorney if you should answer questions posed to you by LEO and anyone worth their salt will say "NO. Shut up immediately."
    3) Don't try to teach anyone anything. I'm not here to teach them a lesson on the laws nor am I reciting the constitution to them. I'm practicing my rights in the most cordial way possible.
    4) Don't argue. If they say I'm legally required to do something, I will do it. If doing that turns out to incriminate me and I wasn't legally required to do it, I will fight it in the courts (and win), not on the side of the street.
    5) (this one doesn't really apply to a border checkpoint) Don't try to "get out of" anything. If you were speeding, take your speeding ticket, pay it (or fight it in court), and drive slower in the future. I'd guess a huge number of people have incriminated themselves trying to get out of a ticket ("How fast were you going?" "Oh probably just about 60 in the 55 zone" bam! guilty)
    If you are not content with your life as it is, you never will be.

  2. #2
    Master j706's Avatar

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    So what was the point in being a d---? Were you hiding something illegal or is just your thing to hassle guys attempting to do a job? I am a little confused I guess. I am embarrassed for you,your wife and kids. Sheezzz.

  3. #3
    Master Hammerhead's Avatar

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    So, exercising his rights to remain silent and not answer any questions without an attorney present is being a richard?

    Nice jack boots.
    Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war!
    http://ingunowners.com/forums/pictur...ictureid=22482

    A tactical retreat is not a bad response to a surprise assault, you know. First you survive. Then you choose your own ground. Then you counterattack.
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign, 1999

  4. #4
    Grandmaster

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    Quote Originally Posted by j706 View Post
    So what was the point in being a d---? Were you hiding something illegal or is just your thing to hassle guys attempting to do a job? I am a little confused I guess. I am embarrassed for you,your wife and kids. Sheezzz.
    I feel bad for most of the cops in INGO, they get a bad rap and are bashed way to often.....however statements like this dont help at all to stop that.

  5. #5
    Grandmaster Rookie's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post
    So, exercising his rights to remain silent and not answer any questions without an attorney present is being a richard?

    Nice jack boots.
    Yup. That's what he's saying.

  6. #6
    Grandmaster tv1217's Avatar

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    How dare you not respect his authoritah!


  7. #7
    Master Hammerhead's Avatar

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    I will make this caveat...if j706's post was seriously lacking purple, in which that was misunderstood and in my opinion in poor taste, then I'll retract my admonition.

    If he's serious, then my statement stands.
    Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war!
    http://ingunowners.com/forums/pictur...ictureid=22482

    A tactical retreat is not a bad response to a surprise assault, you know. First you survive. Then you choose your own ground. Then you counterattack.
    Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign, 1999

  8. #8
    Grandmaster sj kahr k40's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post
    I will make this caveat...if j706's post was seriously lacking purple, in which that was misunderstood and in my opinion in poor taste, then I'll retract my admonition.

    If he's serious, then my statement stands.
    Going by past post I think he was serious

  9. #9
    Grandmaster

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    Quote Originally Posted by sj kahr k40 View Post
    Going by past post I think he was serious

  10. #10
    Grandmaster Benny's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmabrey View Post
    I feel bad for most of the cops in INGO, they get a bad rap and are bashed way to often.....however statements like this dont help at all to stop that.
    Plus Juan.
    You are now breathing manually.

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